On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Wigdor LLP filed a gender and age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of five award-winning female news anchors against Charter Communications, Inc. (“Charter”), which operates the news channel known as New York One (“NY1”). The five Plaintiffs, Roma Torre (61), Kristen Shaughnessy (50), Jeanine Ramirez (49), Vivian Lee (44) and Amanda Farinacci (40) have over 100 years of collective experience at NY1. All five allege that NY1 reduced their air-time, anchoring opportunities and promotional support while thrusting numerous younger women and men into the most visible and prominent roles.
As set forth in the lawsuit, the five Plaintiffs issued numerous complaints of age and gender discrimination to NY1’s management and human resources, but these complaints were either not taken seriously or outright ignored, and only led to retaliation and further mistreatment.
The case garnered significant media attention, including articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, CBS News, CNN and many others. The case was also discussed on various television and radio programs including PIX11, Cheddar TV, Boomer and Gio on WFAN, All of It on WNYC, and even NY1 itself. A photo of the five Plaintiffs appeared on the front cover of the New York Post, and a cartoon highlighting the lawsuit was published in AM New York.
The lawsuit also drummed up support from several high-profile individuals in media, politics and beyond, including Katie Couric, Megyn Kelly, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Five anchorwomen at @NY1, one of the country’s most prominent local news channels, sued the network on Wednesday over age and gender discrimination, alleging a systematic effort by managers to force them off the air in favor of younger, less experienced hosts. https://t.co/WPCpg3fwGC
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) June 19, 2019
Most viewers, I believe, would rather watch/listen to someone who has some life experience to help contextualize the news. https://t.co/TPaxfSymBq
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 19, 2019
I thought I was just MISSING @RomaTorreNYC’s wonderful theater reviews, and then I saw this. As a longtime @NY1 fan, this was so dispiriting to read. Supporting these journalists in their fight for equal time and pay. #InThePapers https://t.co/bQnqWvnTod
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 19, 2019
Discrimination against someone's age or gender is an insult to every New Yorker and these allegations against @GetSpectrum are shameful.
It takes true courage to stand up and speak out the way these women have. We stand with them.https://t.co/JjQaWNJqTZ
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 21, 2019
The Plaintiffs have launched a social media campaign, Unseen On TV, to highlight issues of ageism and gender discrimination in broadcast journalism. You can follow their story using the links below and join in the conversation using the hashtag #BroadcastWomen.
We are 5 award-winning female journalists calling on @NY1 to end its practice of pushing out older female talent in favor of younger women & men. Read this NY Times article to learn more about the lawsuit we filed today. #BroadcastWomen #UnseenOnTV https://t.co/v7TXP52DWl
— Unseen On TV (@UnseenWomenOnTV) June 19, 2019
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor, Founding Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“New Yorkers deserve to have the most talented journalists deliver the news. Sadly, after dedicating over 100 years of award-winning journalism to NY1, our five clients have clearly been told that their careers are over, as NY1 seems to believe that younger faces, when it comes to women, are a “better look” for the bottom line. We will hold NY1 accountable for their blatant ageist and sexist views and intend to send a message across all media that this epidemic of discrimination toward older women must come to an end. We are confident that New Yorkers will rally behind our clients knowing that merit and ability are how people ought to be judged.”
“Five NY1 anchorwomen are suing their network saying their ‘blossoming careers have wilted’ after being shoved aside to make room for younger women and men”
June 19, 2019